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An Extremist Christian Perspective?



Ruth Gledhill writing in her blog for the Times mentions the letter sent out by Dr Alan Clifford of Norwich Reformed Church about Islam. She fears that protests by extremist Muslims against soldiers returning from Iraq may legitimise his perspective. She says the letter is full of ‘extreme negative comment about Islam’. I must admit that I too get rather annoyed when all Muslims are tarred with the same brush and I am not convinced that Allah is any more a false god than the God of the Samaritan woman in John 4 or the God of liberal Christianity, but even if I disagree with them in a number of respects I wouldn’t label Dr Clifford’s views as extreme or illegitimate (which means unlawful). What do you think?

God by any other name


According to an article on the Christianity Today website a storm is brewing again over the use of Yahweh as God’s name. The Vatican is asking for the divine name to be removed from all liturgy. Some Protestants have also been following this line for a while. According to the article that’s why we sometimes find ourselves singing “Guide me O thou great redeemer

This of course isn’t a new debate. Jews for centuries have avoided pronouncing the personal name of God, apparently out of respect.My understanding is that the Masorete scribes added the vowel marks to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament (Hebrew was traditionally written without vowels). When they did this they added the vowels of the Hebrew word Adonai (Lord) as a reminder to readers that they should not pronounce the divine name but substitute the word Adonai instead. This apparently lead to the pronounciation Jehovah familiar to us from the King James Version and some hymns.

Neither is this the only debateĀ  about what we should call God. There is a long running controversy about the use of Allah by Christians writing in languages such as Arabic. See this helpful article by Mark Naylor for helpful thoughts on that one. Some would question the appropriateness of our English word God since the word is originally the name of a pre-Christian pagan deity.

Personally I believe that since God has revealed his personal name, he intends us to know it, and I find no biblical injunction against saying it. If I pronounce it, then I certainly intend no disrespect in doing so and I don’t believe that anyone who does pronounce it is showing a lack of respect by doing so.

What do you think? Any comments appreciated.

Real Missionaries?

We used to live in Africa and were known to lots of people as 'missionaries' though our contacts there were almost all Christians. We now live in the Bristol suburbs a long way from what many think of as the 'mission field', yet Bradley Stoke is probably more pagan than Abidjan. I work in an office staffed entirely by Christians. My work is focussed on mission in Africa, but my role in IT often seems quite far removed from reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Although we now live in the UK, we are grateful to the Lord for those who have continued to give financially and pray for us. But the nagging question is still there – are we 'real missionaries'? Sadly I can go days or even weeks without really talking in any depth to someone who isn't yet a Christian. Margo at least gets to meet lots of not-yet-Christian mums every week at toddler group. How can we be real missionaries here in Bristol? Being real missionaries probably shouldn't mean spending more time at church or even more time at work. I preach evangelistic sermons sometimes, but mostly to the converted. Perhaps you who pray for us and give to our support are the real missionaries and we should be spending more time praying for you! We'd love it if you could update us on your situation and the not-yet-Christians you rub shoulders with every day in your mission field.

Mapping World Mission

{mosimage} One of the presentations here at  ICCM was on the mission mapping project based at www.worldmap.org
. Hidden a little more deeply in the site is an interactve map which
can have various layers switched on and zoomed in and out like Google
Earth. For example start here,
tick the box for the Bible Translation Status layer and zoom in to Côte
d'Ivoire. The data you see is in the maps contributed by many different
mission organisations. Organisations with accounts can store lots and
lots of data and make public or share with other organisations as